The US Navy is in the thick of the Red Sea fight. But there’s one warship class that’s missing

“The US Navy has surged warships into the Middle East in response to the growing threat that Yemen’s Houthi rebels pose to commercial shipping passing through regional waters.
But there’s one ship type the American fleet isn’t surging into the region. The troubled Littoral Combat Ship. Farcically, the LCS is one of the more numerous ship types in the fleet. But it’s totally unsuitable for hard fighting. And the fighting around Yemen has been very hard.

That the US Navy has left behind its 26 LCSs is the latest humiliation for military leaders who advocated for the ship during its long development – and the latest reminder that the American fleet is, in practice, much smaller than it appears to be on paper.

If the LCSs can’t fight the Houthis, who can they fight? That likely answer is: no one.”

“The idea was to equip the US fleet with 50 or more vessels that could sail fast in shallow, near-shore littorals. To keep them small, their weaponry would be light.

The Pentagon’s $37-billion commitment to the LCS was a profound misreading of the future security environment. With no long-range air-defenses, the 3,000-ton LCSs can’t protect themselves from the Houthis’ Iranian-made missiles and drones – to say nothing of protecting commercial ships that might be spread out across thousands of square miles.

And with no long-range land-attack weapons, the LCSs can’t strike back at the Houthis, either. If the LCSs are unsuitable for defense and offense against a regional militant group, how would they fare against a much bigger and more sophisticated foe like China?”

Iran goes public with stark warning over suspected spy ship as U.S. refuses to rule out more strikes

Iran goes public with stark warning over suspected spy ship as U.S. refuses to rule out more strikes

India begins to flex its naval power as competition with China grows

“India is widely publicizing the deployments, signaling its desire to assume a wider responsibility in maritime security to the world and its growing maritime ambitions to regional rival China.
“It is a message to China that, look, we can deploy such a large force here. This is our backyard. Though we don’t own it, but we are probably the most capable and responsible resident naval power,” Chawla said.

The Indian navy has helped at least four ships, three of which were attacked by Houthi rebels and another that Washington blamed on Iran, a charge denied by Tehran. It has also conducted several anti-piracy missions.”

“India has not joined the U.S.-led force battling the Houthis.

On Jan. 26, the Indian guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam assisted the crew of a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker in fighting a fire after it was hit by a missile in the Gulf of Aden. About 10 days earlier, the Visakhapatnam responded to a distress call by the U.S.-owned Genco Picardy merchant vessel following a drone attack in the same waters.

“Maritime security has not been a strong pillar of India’s foreign policy engagements in a way we are beginning to see now,” said Darshana M. Baruah, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “China is a factor in this.”

The rivals are already locked in a military standoff along their disputed border high in the mountains.

China has built up its presence over the years in the Indian Ocean, a key route for its energy supplies. It has the world’s largest navy by number of ships, more than three times the size of the Indian navy. China also operates a powerful fleet of large coast guard ships and what is referred to as its maritime militia consisting of fishing vessels that cooperate with the coast guard in asserting territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Beijing has deepened its engagement in the Indian Ocean mainly through infrastructure deals with India’s neighbors, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and most recently the Maldives.”

US warship had close call with Houthi missile in Red Sea

“A cruise missile launched by the Houthis into the Red Sea on Tuesday night came within a mile of a US destroyer before it was shot down, four US officials told CNN, the closest a Houthi attack has come to a US warship.
In the past, these missiles have been intercepted by US destroyers in the area at a range of eight miles or more, the officials said. But the USS Gravely had to use its Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) for the first time since the US began intercepting the Houthi missiles late last year, which ultimately succeeded in downing the missile, officials said.

The CIWS, an automated machine gun designed for close-range intercepts, is one of the final defensive lines the ship has to shoot down an incoming missile when other layers of defense have failed to intercept it.

The episode underscores the threat the Houthis continue to pose to US naval assets and commercial shipping in the Red Sea, despite multiple US and British strikes on Houthi infrastructure inside Yemen. The close call also comes just days after three US service members were killed in a drone attack by Iran-backed militants at a US outpost in Jordan.”

China Has New Full-Scale Target Of America’s Ford Supercarrier

“China has constructed a new aircraft carrier target on a sprawling range in the northwestern end of the country that is a dead-ringer for the U.S. Navy’s newest supercarrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. The target underscores the People’s Liberation Army’s continued focus on expanding and refining its ability to engage American carriers and other warships over long distances, which includes a growing arsenal of anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles. This is all part of China’s evolving anti-access and area denial strategy across much of the Western Pacific.”

US military seizes Iranian missile parts bound for Houthi rebels in raid where 2 SEALs went missing

“The SEAL raid happened last Thursday, with the commandos launching from the USS Lewis B. Puller backed by drones and helicopters, with the U.S. military’s Central Command saying it took place in the Arabian Sea.
The SEALs found cruise and ballistic missile components, including propulsion and guidance devices, as well as warheads, Central Command said. It added that air defense parts also were found.

“Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting in the Red Sea,” Central Command said in a statement.

Images released by the U.S. military analyzed by The Associated Press showed components resembling rocket motors and others previously seized. It also included what appeared to be a cruise missile with a small turbojet engine — a type used by the Houthis and Iran.

The U.S. Navy ultimately sunk the ship carrying the weapons after deeming it unsafe, Central Command said. The ship’s 14 crew have been detained.

The Houthis have not acknowledged the seizure and Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Federal Shipping Regulations Sank One of America’s Biggest Offshore Wind Projects

“That Reuters report doesn’t include a specific mention of the Jones Act—the century-old law that effectively bans foreign-built ships from operating between American ports, and that subsequently drives up the cost of shipbuilding and shipping in the United States—but the subtext is pretty clear. In a call with reporters a few days after the project was canceled, Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper cited “significant delays on vessel availability” caused “a situation where we would need to go out and recontract all or very large scopes of the project at expectedly higher prices.”
That’s what the Jones Act does. As Reason has reported on many other occasions, the Jones Act is a nakedly protectionist law that severely limits competition in the American shipping market by requiring that ships operating between U.S. ports are American-built, American-crewed, and American-flagged.

Building offshore wind farms requires ships that can deliver supplies to the construction site and some specialty ships that serve as a base for building the turbines. While there are plenty of ships around the rest of the world that can do that work, companies like Ørsted can’t use those ships to build wind farms in American coastal waters.”

A $2M missile vs. a $2,000 drone: Pentagon worried over cost of Houthi attacks

“As American warships rack up kills against Houthi drones and missiles in the Red Sea, Pentagon officials are increasingly alarmed not just at the threat to U.S. naval forces and international shipping — but at the growing cost of keeping them safe.
U.S. Navy destroyers have shot down 38 drones and multiple missiles in the Red Sea over the past two months, according to a Defense Department official, as the Iran-backed militants have stepped up attacks on commercial vessels moving energy and oil through the world’s most vital shipping lanes. On Saturday alone, the destroyer USS Carney intercepted 14 one-way attack drones.

Houthi leaders have said the attacks are a show of support for the Palestinians, and that they won’t stop until Israel halts its operations in Gaza. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday announced a new international maritime coalition to safeguard shipping and counter the attacks.

The cost of using expensive naval missiles — which can run up to $2.1 million a shot — to destroy unsophisticated Houthi drones — estimated at a few thousand dollars each — is a growing concern”